As POTUS appears on the verge of surrender this week in the tired battle over his border wall idea and a spending bill to fund it, I wanted to draw attention to a lesser known capitulation from America’s past.
For 35 years the good citizens of Key West have beaten back fascism and demagoguery with humor and booze to celebrate their 1982 secession from the United States. The newly founded Conch Republic declared war on the former Homeland, quickly waved a white flag of surrender, then submitted a request for foreign aid—which naturally never arrived.
The 10-day Conch Republic Independence Celebration is in full swing this week, ending Saturday with an event far more significant than anyone’s 100 despicable days of Making America Gag Absolutely #MAGA.
In fact, the bed races on Duvall St. in Key West this weekend might be just what the country needs after waking up bleary-eyed each day since the start of this four-year national nightmare.
Established April 23, 1982 as a rebuke to the U.S. Border blockade of the Florida Keys, The Conch Republic has as its stated Foreign Policy:
“The Mitigation of World Tension through the Exercise of Humor.”
When the U.S. Government installed a Border Patrol checkpoint at the head of the island chain, treating the Keys like a foreign country, Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow seceded from the Union. Non-reaction by the U.S. to this assertion of the rights of man, according to international law, resulted in sovereignty.
The Conch Republic was born!
On its home page the proud Conch Republic notes it has its own passports and has had “citizens and Diplomats received by thirteen Caribbean countries, Mexico, Sweden, Russia, France, Spain, Ireland and Germany.” The Republic even maintains what it calls ‘Conch-sulates’ in Switzerland, Havana, Maine, and New Orleans.
The Conch Republic calls itself the world’s first fifth world country and exists as a State of Mind. “We aspire only to bring more Warmth, Humor and Respect to a planet we find in sore need of all three.”
It’s former home to renowned patriot, WWII German submarine hunter, and erstwhile writer Ernest Hemingway (there he wrote Death in the Afternoon, The Green Hills of Africa, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, and parts of A Farewell to Arms), playwright Tennessee Williams, and many other notorious writers and artists. My publisher is located there.
The Conch Republic calls itself “The world’s first functioning Meritocracy whereby anyone that sees a job that needs doing can do it, and be recognized in that position.” They recognize the “World Principle of Human Rights and Ambitions”—because what are rights without the ability to realize ambitions?
Their annual Independence celebration is carried out in a “public and notorious manner” over a ten day period in April of every year. It concludes on Sunday, a day after Saturday’s Duvall St. Bed Races, and the 101st day of the current effort to Make All Greed Awesome #(MAGA!)